The loss snapped the Colonels 17-game regular season winning streak. It also marked only the second time in their last 14 games at Ralston Field that Wilkes has tasted defeat.
Kevin Drakeford returned the opening kickoff 40 yards to give William Paterson good field position at the Wilkes 49-yard line. The Pioneers would get a 14-yard completion from Dan Lamego to Bruce Katkowski to move the ball to the Wilkes 35. Ira Guilford picked up seven and five yards on his first two carries to advance the ball to the 23. He then took another handoff and scampered 23 yards for a touchdown with 13:08 left in the opening quarter. Ricky Krautman added the extra point to give William Paterson a 7-0 lead.
Later in the first quarter the Wilkes defense forced a Pioneer punt that placed the ball at the Colonels 46. Quarterback Al Karaffa would connect with Drew Letcavage for a pair of completions that covered 13 yards, and would then race 10 yards to give Wilkes a first down at the William Paterson 36. A 13-yard Karaffa to Gennaro Zangardi pass play would push the ball to the 13. However, Wilkes was able to gain only one yard on their next three plays and were forced to attempt a field goal. Brad Woznisky came on and booted a 29-yard kick that made it 7-3 with 3:34 showing on the clock.
Wilkes put together an 11 play, 81-yard drive to reach the endzone early in the second stanza. Karaffa hit Kyle Regner for eight yards and Jamar Beverly for a 21-yard gain as the Colonels marched to the William Paterson 47. Corey Carter would carry on three straight plays, ripping off 19 yards to advance the ball to the 34. After a three-yard run by Sean Madden, Karaffa took off around left end on a bootleg play for a 20-yard gain that placed the ball on the five. Madden would carry three times from there, including a one-yard touchdown plunge with 6:42 left in the half. The extra point attempt by Woznisky was no good and the Colonels led 9-7.
The Wilkes defense forced a three and out on
William Paterson’s next possession to force a punt. After Krautman’s punt was
downed at the Wilkes 28, Karaffa immediately went to the air and found Zangardi
for a 46-yard gain to the Pioneer’s 26. Karaffa then hit Jason Prushinski for a
13-yard strike to give Wilkes a first down at the 13. A one-yard run by
The Pioneers special teams would come up with a big play later in the quarter. Facing a fourth-and-eight from the Wilkes 41, William Paterson opted to punt. The punt hit a Wilkes return man and went into the endzone, where Brian Stone recovered for a touchdown with 1:00 to play in the half. Krautman’s extra point pulled the Pioneers to within 16-14 at intermission.
William Paterson would drive to the Wilkes 11-yard line midway through the third quarter. However, the Colonels defense stiffened and Krautman’s 29-yard field goal attempt was blocked by Jason Acquaye to keep Wilkes on top.
Late in the third quarter Harold Green stepped in front of a Karaffa aerial attempt at the Colonels’ 34 and returned it 23 yards to give William Paterson possession at the Wilkes 11-yard line. Shaun Puluse was able to gain only two yards on three rushing attempts and Krautman was called on to attempt a 27-yard field goal. This time he sent the kick through the uprights to put William Paterson on top, 17-16 with 1:29 left in the third quarter.
The Colonels tried to mount a rally late in the game after taking over on their own 10-yard line following a punt with 2:20 left in the game. Karaffa hit on six-of-eight pass attempts, including four straight to Prushinski that picked up 35 yards, as Wilkes marched to the Pioneers’ 44-yard line with just over one minute to play. On second-and-six from that point, the snap from center eluded Karaffa and Dominick Brown recovered for William Paterson at his own 48 to end the threat and give the Pioneers the victory.
Wilkes dominated the game statistically, holding a 290 to 132 edge in total yards and picking up 19 first downs to the Pioneers eight. But, the Colonels were guilty of five turnovers in the game, while William Paterson did not commit one.
Lamego finished 7-of-19 through the air for 69 yards, while Karaffa was 23-of-43 for 221 yards and a pair of interceptions. Katkowski was the leading receiver for the Pioneers with four catches for 46 yards. Letcavage hauled in eight passes for 50 yards for Wilkes and Prushinski added six receptions for 68 yards.
Mike Lamego and Leer Biddle had team-high honors with nine tackles each for the Pioneers, who also got five tackles, including three sacks, from Dan Nunez.
Kyle Follweiler had a game-high 13 tackles to lead Wilkes. Corey Tucker chipped in with eight stops.